New rescue service for homeless

Moscow, 7 November 2013

Miloserdie, a Russian Orthodox Church rescue service, is reorganising its approach to helping the homeless. A mobile response team will now replace the Miloserdie bus, which patrolled Moscow train stations for 9 years; the mobile team will be responding to alerts on the homeless who will soon experience freezing temperatures 24/7.

The team will provide urgent responses in all areas of Moscow Mon-Fri. The helpline to alert the team of a homeless person in danger of freezing is 8-985-764-49-11. During weekends, the operator would be able to consult on how best to help the homeless in question, as well as signpost the caller to other agencies involved in providing urgent response to the homeless.

‘The Miloserdie bus was one of the first projects of its kind in Moscow. It is largely because of this bus that the Moscow Department for Social Security launched its own mobile project: ‘Social Patrol’ in 2009, which has now broadened its scope, and we now think is ready to take on the job the bus used to fulfil’, said Deacon Oleg Vyshinsky, the Miloserdie bus team leader.

The Miloserdie mobile response team will be taking the homeless to the ‘Social Patrol’ buses stationed around the Moscow train stations. If required, the mobile team will help with admission into the social adaptation centre.

If someone requires medical help, the mobile team will call an ambulance, and will make sure the homeless person is hospitalised. While that person is undergoing treatment, another Miloserdie response team that works in Moscow hospitals, will try and find a solution for the patient. The team help people reapply for ID, find relatives, help with finding employment, give spiritual guidance, help send people home, help with admissions to church and non-religious shelters. They also provide clothing, crutches, and other mobility aids.  In the 9 years of its service patrolling Moscow stations, the Miloserdie teams saved the lives of 35,000 homeless people.

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